Forum
Buying gear? Please use these links to help 14ers.com:

More info...

Other ways to help...

Best mtns to climb in Utah?

14ers in California and Washington state or any other peak in the USA
User avatar
Posts: 2053
Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2005 8:30 pm
Location: Bellingham, Washington

Best mtns to climb in Utah?

Postby Aubrey » Tue Jul 21, 2009 12:51 pm

I’ve been to Utah many times before but the only mountain I've climbed is Kings Peak. For those that are familiar with the state, what are some of the best mountains to climb? I’m thinking about doing a road trip this fall and I'm looking for good day climbs (under 10 miles round trip). Would prefer fun ridge climbs or Class 3 routes over walk-ups and/or scree slogs. I’m open to all ranges.

Any suggestions?

User avatar
Posts: 1333
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2005 10:17 am
Location: Dillon

Re: Best mtns to climb in Utah?

Postby TravelingMatt » Tue Jul 21, 2009 12:57 pm

I did White Baldy from LIttle Cottonwood once as a ridge climb to avoid the snow in the basin. It worked great; lots of hard 2/easy 3 and never worried too much about the exposure.
So pleas'd at first the towering Alps we try,
Mount o'er the vales, and seem to tread the sky,
Th' increasing prospects tire our wand'ring eyes,
Hills peep o'er hills, and Alps on Alps arise!
-- Alexander Pope

User avatar
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Jun 19, 2009 3:29 pm
Location: Steamboat Springs, CO

Re: Best mtns to climb in Utah?

Postby ski7824 » Tue Jul 21, 2009 1:12 pm

Mt. Timpanogos is a fantastic climb (from Aspen Grove) even though it is a well traveled trail and over your 10 mile round trip length criteria. It can be done in one day and offers unbelievably beautiful glacial basins, a permanent snowfield, an exciting ridge traverse to the summit w/ some mind numbing exposure (yet safe), and 6000 foot prominence above Provo, UT. Its also the second highest peak in the Wasatch. The aspen grove trailhead is accessible from Provo Canyon up near Sundance ski resort. The most scenic climb in the Wasatch IMO.

If you are looking for solitude (on a weekday this will be magnified greatly), check out Hayden Peak in the Uinta Range. It involves very little trail hiking followed by climbing and traversing over talus fields and a semi-rowdy ridge scramble to the summit. You access this route from the Highline Trailhead off of Mirror Lake Highway, about 45 minutes east of Park City / Kamas, UT. Access the col (Mountaineer's Couloir) south of Hayden Peak via a lightly traveled trail and climb up the south ridge of Hayden. Views up there are incredible. Some fun exposure.

A challenging, yet shorter climb/scramble is the south ridge of Mount Superior in Little Cottonwood Canyon across from Snowbird ski area. A lot of people use ropes but its definitely doable without and can offer some incredible views of Little Cottonwood Canyon.

User avatar
Posts: 1539
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2007 3:13 am
Location: Littleton, CO

Re: Best mtns to climb in Utah?

Postby Tory Wells » Tue Jul 21, 2009 1:27 pm

MIght want to check with Skiwall as well......he/she is from the SLC.
http://www.14ers.com/phpBB3/memberlist.php?mode=viewprofile&u=10774
"Tongue-tied and twisted, just an earthbound misfit, am I." -David Gilmour, Pink Floyd

"We knocked the bastard off." Hillary, 1953
"It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves." Hillary, 2003
Couldn't we all use 50 years of humble growth?
-Steve Gladbach

User avatar
Posts: 2053
Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2005 8:30 pm
Location: Bellingham, Washington

Re: Best mtns to climb in Utah?

Postby Aubrey » Tue Jul 21, 2009 1:40 pm

Great ideas, thanks so much. I've got a lot to ponder.

The original plan was to drive through Dinosaur N.M. (never been there before) and on to the Great Basin to climb Wheeler Peak ... and also hit some Utah mountains on the way to/from the Great Basin. But then I started thinking, maybe we'll skip the Great Basin for now, and just focus on Utah.

Also on the table is a trip to Idaho. I drove to Idaho last year and it was hell. So instead of a road trip, we'd snag a cheap Southwest flight to Boise and rent a car from there. We really liked Borah Peak ... so I figure there are other fun mtns out that way to consider.

We have so much in Colorado it's easy to neglect the surrounding states. But after taking some road trips over the last couple years, I've learned that they have a lot to offer as well. Plus, we get to see different scenery, new cities/towns, go to new brewpubs, etc.

Thanks again for the replies so far!

User avatar
Posts: 1333
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2005 10:17 am
Location: Dillon

Re: Best mtns to climb in Utah?

Postby TravelingMatt » Tue Jul 21, 2009 1:54 pm

Wheeler's a great hike, but it's not that hard, and you only need to go there once in your life, ever. I think I'd rather spend the couple of days it takes to get out and back hiking in the Wasatch and/or Uintas.
So pleas'd at first the towering Alps we try,
Mount o'er the vales, and seem to tread the sky,
Th' increasing prospects tire our wand'ring eyes,
Hills peep o'er hills, and Alps on Alps arise!
-- Alexander Pope

User avatar
Posts: 2262
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2005 3:35 pm

Re: Best mtns to climb in Utah?

Postby Matt » Tue Jul 21, 2009 2:00 pm

Aubrey wrote:I’ve been to Utah many times before but the only mountain I've climbed is Kings Peak. For those that are familiar with the state, what are some of the best mountains to climb? I’m thinking about doing a road trip this fall and I'm looking for good day climbs (under 10 miles round trip). Would prefer fun ridge climbs or Class 3 routes over walk-ups and/or scree slogs. I’m open to all ranges.

Any suggestions?


Aubrey,
The La Sal and Henry Mountains provide short hikes with amazing views. As you know, the La Sals are in the Moab area, with Mt. Peale being the range's highpoint. The Henrys overlook Capitol Reef National Park, and their highpoint, Mt. Ellen, is a pretty significant peak.
Both peaks are ultra-prominence peaks with views to die for. From the summit of Peale, you can see Sneffels, the Wilson Group, as well as peering down at Moab and the vast, red landscape of Canyonlands NP. Ellen's summit view is no less spectacular, as it overlooks Capitol Reef, and you can see a number of peaks in the distance. Both ranges have a number of other interesting peaks.
While not such a great hike, Navajo Mountain (just west of Monument Valley) is one of the few peaks I've summited where the curvature of the earth is visible. AzScott and I hiked that one last fall, and were blown away by this aspect of the view, which stretches seemingly forever.
All these peaks have summitpost pages, but if you have any interest, send me an email or call me and I can tell you plenty more.
BTW, Wheeler Peak is just over the state line in Nevada, but well worth the drive, IMO. It's got a fantastic view, too.
We are all greater artists than we realize -FWN
A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. -HDT
Peak List

User avatar
Posts: 5040
Joined: Wed May 04, 2005 11:46 am
Location: Craig

Re: Best mtns to climb in Utah?

Postby Scott P » Tue Jul 21, 2009 10:05 pm

Out of the ~600 mountains I've climbed in the state, below are some of my favorites.

Uintas

Priord Peak:

http://www.summitpost.org/mountain/rock/153852/-priord-peak-.html

Even though the mountain is a good one, the summit register I placed on top (which I had removed) at age 16 went another 15 years before someone else signed it.

The Cathedral:

http://www.summitpost.org/mountain/rock/152542/the-cathedral.html

When I first climbed it solo at age 16, there were no signs of previous ascent on the summit and I’m told it’s still like that.

Wilson Peak:

http://www.summitpost.org/mountain/rock/221286/wilson-peak.html

Red Castle:

http://www.summitpost.org/view_object.php?object_id=221284

Some people claim that the actual summit of Red Castle hasn’t been climbed, but I’m kind of skeptical about that. It is a spectacular peak and looks similar to the Maroon Bells, only it’s more rugged and steeper.

Wasatch

Twin Peaks:

http://www.summitpost.org/mountain/rock/150522/broads-fork-twin-peaks.html

Pfeifferhorn to Bells:

http://www.summitpost.org/mountain/rock/151177/pfeifferhorn.html

Timpanogos:

http://www.summitpost.org/mountain/rock/151365/mt-timpanogos-ut-.html

Mike Kelsey, who has the world record for climbing the most mountains in the most countries says it is the prettiest peak in the Rockies and I tend to agree.

Henry

Mount Ellsworth :

http://www.summitpost.org/mountain/rock/514738/mount-ellsworth-ut.html

Mount Holmes:

http://www.summitpost.org/mountain/rock/293592/mount-holmes.html

Great Basin

Notch Peak:

http://www.summitpost.org/mountain/rock/151567/notch-peak.html

The north face has supposedly the highest cliff in North America and has only been climbed a few times, but the east face or north ridge are walk-ups. The north ridge is the most scenic non-technical route.

Tatow Knob

Desert Mountain

Granite Peak

Colorado Plateau

Temple Mountain:

http://www.summitpost.org/album/435723/temple-mountain.html

San Rafael Knob:

http://www.summitpost.org/mountain/rock/286486/san-rafael-knob.html

South Split Mountain:

http://www.summitpost.org/mountain/rock/153895/split-mountain-south.html


Of course there are a lot more; those are only a few suggestions. Don’t miss the canyon country either.

Probably a good idea. It's a long, boring drive out to Great Basin. The area around Wheeler Peak is kind of scenic, but that's about it.


It appears that way when just driving the highway, but it really isn't so. You only need to leave the highway a few miles. Notch Peak, for example has the highest cliff in North America and not far north of the highway. Notch Peak has cliffs well over double anything Colorado has and the north face of Notch is 3 times higher than the Diamond on Longs and much harder to climb. Desert Mountain is an awesome place kind of like Joshua Tree, but with no people. The Mineral Mountains are incredibly spectacular and the highest point is an incredibly spectacular granite tower that is at least equal to anything in the Wind Rivers.

PS, someone mentioned climbing Navajo Mountain, but it is illegal and really shouldn’t be done.
Last edited by Scott P on Wed Jul 22, 2009 7:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.
I'm slow and fat. Unfortunately, those are my good qualities.

User avatar
Posts: 920
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2008 2:50 pm
Location: Chama Valley, NM

Re: Best mtns to climb in Utah?

Postby skiwall » Wed Jul 22, 2009 8:44 am

lanternerouge08 wrote:MIght want to check with Skiwall as well......he/she is from the SLC.


???

You can't tell by my picture that I'm a girl? Is it because I'm not wearing pink? :)


Most of the hiking/climbing I've done is in the Wasatch- I really like the Amethyst Lake/Ryder Lake/Kermsuh Lake area of the Uintas, but that's only one little area. We tried to get up Ostler Peak last year, which was fun- lots of very loose scree, but we got there late due to a bad wreck on the Mirror Lake Highway, and we never made the summit. We were at Kermsuh Lake last weekend, and we got eaten alive by mosquitoes, so you may want to hold off on that until later this fall, but the aspens would be beautiful when they start to turn in October.

As for the Wasatch, my favs in order are probably the Pfiefferhorn (it was my first hike as well as my first quasi-winter-mountaineering trip), Lone Peak, Timpanogos, and Nebo. Nebo is considerably south of SLC. It's pretty easy walk up with only a few steep sections, but it's really pretty. Usually there aren't that many people, and it's kind of cool to see the desert when you're up on the mountain. Timp is really pretty and very popular and crowded. I had a bad experience on Timp thanks to a giant troop of boy scouts. The wildflowers are really pretty on Timp even into August. If you want a variation of Timp that not many people do you could climb to the north summit. There's the wreckage of a plane up there. I think that way might have more scrambling- check summitpost. Lone Peak is just south of SLC. We actually climbed it from the south side because we could drive partway up the mountain with a 4WD truck. It made the hike shorter but super steep. Lone Peak cirque is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been! Getting to the summit has some scrambling. We actually didn't make that one either because it started to rain, and we were worried about the rock getting slick. The Pfiefferhorn is in Little Cottonwood. The knife edge is pretty exciting. You can see Timp and Lone from the Pfieff.

If you want some pretty intense, long scramble-y routes, try the Big Cottonwood/Little Cottonwood ridgeline. Last year we hiked up Ferguson Canyon (mouth of BCC) and traversed around to Broads Fork Twin Peaks, and then down Broads Fork. Lots of scrambling, some high exposure, and over 6000 ft vertical. Some parts are very exposed, maybe some class 4, but the climbing is not difficult, and the rock is solid. If you're really in shape you can keep going to Dromedary and Sunrise, both of which (and Twin Peaks) you can climb on their own from Broads Fork, and those have quite a bit of scrambling, too. Thinking about it, I would definitely recommend Broads Fork Twin- two mountains for one day, and you can get really great views of the valley and the GSL.

Hope this helps! If any of this sounds interesting, and you want more info, send me a PM or something. :D
"A good woman knows her place is in the backcountry." - PW '08

User avatar
Posts: 2262
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2005 3:35 pm

Re: Best mtns to climb in Utah?

Postby Matt » Wed Jul 22, 2009 8:52 am

Scott P wrote:PS, climbing Navajo Mountain is illegal


Scott, I live and work on the Navajo reservation and have a pretty good idea of what's ok around here. No offense, but that's simply not true.
We are all greater artists than we realize -FWN
A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. -HDT
Peak List

User avatar
Posts: 197
Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 8:39 pm
Location: Utah? Ugh

Re: Best mtns to climb in Utah?

Postby PatsSox09 » Wed Jul 22, 2009 8:59 am

There's actually lots of interesting peaks in the Great Basin area.

The Moriah wilderness is to the north

http://www.summitpost.org/mountain/rock/153935/mount-moriah-nv.html

Ward Mtn about 50 miles away in Ely looked pretty impressive as well

http://www.summitpost.org/mountain/rock/310255/ward-mountain.html

Others have mentioned Notch Peak, and if you're in the House Range you can go for Swasey Peak as well

http://www.summitpost.org/mountain/rock/152124/swasey-peak.html

Other than Wheeler I've personally only climbed North Schell Peak, an ultra prominent about 20 min north of Ely. The Timber Creek area is gorgeous (cowpies not withstanding), especially in the fall.

http://www.summitpost.org/trip-report/452339/Schell-Shocked.html


I'd definitely recommend not rushing it in either Utah or Great Basin, even if it means taking separate trips to enjoy each area. Unfortunately, I can't think of any good class 3/4 stuff near Great Basin, unless you decide to climb the aforementioned Notch Peak the tough way (if you do, I'd definitely want to see the TR).

Posts: 52
Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2008 11:21 am
Location: Fort Collins, CO

Re: Best mtns to climb in Utah?

Postby longshanks » Wed Jul 22, 2009 9:08 am

I agree with skiwall. All those suggestions are great. Broads Fork Twin Peaks probably has the most impressive views of the Salt Lake valley, and some pretty fun scrambling near the top. The Alpine Ridge (south of Little Cottonwood Canyon) is an extremely fun scramble. It is possible in a long day to go all the way from American Fork Twin Peaks near the eastern end of the ridge all the way to Lone Peak at the western end, if you can get a car shuttle worked out. That way you can climb like 5 legit peaks.

Deseret Peak, in the Stansbury Mountains west of SLC, is a great hike, and not very crowded. The views from the top are unbelievable...it's the last 11000 foot peak in that area before you get to the Salt Flats.

I will be in SLC 15-22 August, without a car, and might be interested in a hiking partner for Friday the 21st. I'd be most interested in Mount Nebo.

Next

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests